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Shipwrecks off the Waterford Coast 1914-1918

For all of those who lost their lives and for those who risked their lives to save them
Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamnacha dílse”.


There has been a long history of shipwrecks off the Waterford coast. During the First World War and the battle for control of the seas between the German and British navies many ships were sunk along the coast of Waterford in the period 1914-1918. The addition of the U-boat in the military arsenal brought many a ship to disaster. And still as war waged so too did the weather and the sea and ships were also brought to their end by the forces of nature as well as the forces of war in this period.

Listed below are the ships that were shelled along the Waterford coastline. The information has been taken from a number of sources and includes ships lost due to the weather and other unknown causes during the period 1914-1918. If you discover any errors in the information provided, our sincere apologies, please get in contact with the information you have and we will be happy to update and correct the information provided. We would also be delighted to receive any further information or any images you may have about these shipwrecks and those that so tragically lost their lives.

A comprehensive list of shipwrecks off the Waterford coast is available as a download at the end of this page.

SS Formby & SS Coningbeg

To explore the story of the SS Formby and SS Coningbeg please download The Waterford Shipping Disaster 1917 booklet

The Waterford Shipping Disaster 1917 booklet

SS Formby – Shipwrecked 15th December 1917

The SS Formby was built by the Clyde Shipping Company in 1914.

It was operated by the Waterford Steamship Company and was on a voyage from Liverpool to Waterford when it was torpedoed by U-62 on 15th December 1917.

U-62 was captained by Ernst Hashagen at the time.

The delay of the arrival of the ship lead to fears for the safety of the crew among their family and friends awaiting their arrival in Waterford.

Lost (Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamnacha dílse)

C. Minnard, Captain (St. Declan’s Place, Waterford); A. Gillies, 1st Mate (Argyleshire); J. Rankin, 2nd Mate (Argyleshire); M.Butler, (Alphonsus Road, Waterford); W. Fortune (Fethard, Wexford); E. Burke (Dunmore East, Waterford); T. Keating (Passage East, Waterford); J. Hurley (Passage East, Waterford); T. Coffey(Poleberry, Waterford); J. Clawson (Cheekpoint); J. Burns (Cheekpoint); P. Doyle (Doyle St, Waterford); J. Moir, 1st Enginneer (Lower Newtown); W. Lumley 2nd Engineer (Thomas St, Waterford); J. Lennon, 3rd Engineer (Kilmeaden); T. Condon (Roanmore Road, Waterford); W. Hennebry (Kilmury, Kilkenny); J. Walsh (Passage East); P. Cooke (Slieverue); G. Carpendale (Ferrybank); W. Connolly (Gallows Hill, Waterford); B. Murphy (Newport Lane); J. Kiely (Gradys Yard); M. Hennebry (Kilmurry, Kilkenny); E. Hennessy (Banks Lane); G S Sinclair (Liverpool); A. O’Callaghan (Green St.); J. Morrissey (Parliament St. ); J. Connor, Gunner (Dublin); D. Coults, Gunner (Shetland); C. Basford, Gunner (Hull); J.H. Chappell, Gunner (Bristol); P. Brown, Cattleman (Johnstown); E. Meyler, Cattleman (Lower Grange); T. Meaney, Cattleman (Browns Lane); K. Grant, Cattleman (Blakes Lane); W. Cullen, Cattleman (Newport Lane); T. Pender, Cattleman (New Lane); T. Dobbyn, Cattleman (Doyle St.); P. Quinlan, Cattleman (Cannon St.); J. Manning, Cattleman (Roanmore Road); J. McGrath, Cattleman (Yellow Road); D. O’Connell, Cattleman (Graces Lane); J. O’Brien, Cattleman (Sergeants Court); J. Sullivan, Cattleman (Faithlegg); J. Hayes, Cattleman (Carickphierish); M. Eustace, Cattleman, Lady Lane; Michael O’Brien (Butlerstown); James White (Lower Grange).

SS Coningbeg – Shipwrecked 17th December 1917

A Waterford Steamship Company ship the SS Coningbeg was built in 1904 and like the SS Formby it was returning to Waterford from Liverpool carrying livestock, food and a general cargo.

It was torpedoed by U-62 on 17 December 1917 and all aboard were lost.

Tragically bad weather prevented the telegraph office in Waterford from warning the Coningbeg that the SS Formby had failed to arrive as scheduled so they were unable to prevent the SS Coningbeg from suffering the same fate.



Lost (Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamnacha dílse)

J. Lumley, Master (Percy Terrace); D. Livingston, Mate (Gracedieu Road); M. Miller, 2nd Mate (Argyleshire); P. Hennessy (Alphonsus Road); M. Barry (Parliament St); S. Whitty (Roanmore Road); W. Cahill (Tramore); P. Walsh (Passage East); T. Griffin (Doyle Street); N Hughes (Roches St.); L. Comerford (Presentation Row); M Phelan (Castle St.); WH Johnson, 1st Engineer (Cheshire); A O’Beirne, 2nd Engineer (Canada St.); J. Chestnut, 3rd Engineer (Johnstown); J. McCarthy (Yellow Road); M McCarthy (Stephen St); R. Kehoe (Johnstown); E. Hunt (Alphonsus Road); D. Cleary (Henrietta St); W. Dower (Newport Lane); J. Wall (Grange Terrace); P. Wall (Gracedieu); P. Cullen (Chapel Lane); P. Westead (Francis St.); J. Sullivan (Poleberry); H. Treacy, Steward (Thomas St); E. Phelan, Stewardess (Cheshire); J. Kane (Passage Road); Denis McCarthy (Greenmount, Cork); Joseph Brosnan (Cahirciveen, Kerry); Michael Crotty (Carrick Road, Portlaw) and James Phelan (Barrack Street, Waterford.

Friend and Foe 1917

On 31 July 1917 a German submarine left its base in the North Sea and proceeded to the entrance of Waterford Harbour to lay mines. Its purpose was to disrupt shipping in and out of Waterford.

At 10.20pm on the night of August 4th an explosion was heard out to sea in the fishing village of Dunmore East. A number of boats set out with the intention of rescuing any survivors. By 1am on the morning of August 5th one survivor had been picked up by three of the men who had rowed out. When he was brought ashore it was discovered he was Kpt. Kurt Tebbenjohanns of a German mine laying submarine, UC44 and that he was the only survivor of a crew of 30.

The exact location of the sunken submarine was established by early morning. During the next four months the resources of the British Admiralty were used to salvage a near intact German submarine in what turned out to be the naval intelligence coup of 1917, if not indeed, the entire war.

This exhibition depicts the events of that August night of 1917 within the bigger picture of World War 1. It also places the events within the context of Waterford before and during World War 1. The fishing village of Dunmore East’s social and economic life and, most importantly, it indicates clearly the importance the British Admiralty placed on the salvaging of UC-44 and its contents, especially the Code Book.

This exhibition was researched and curated by Sean and Orla McGrath. Please note the images used in the exhibition are copyright and courtesy of their respective owners and donors and should not be copied without the permission of the copyright holder. You will find details of the copyright owners of the images within the exhibition. Click on image to open the exhibition PDF. Please note this is 32MB. so may take time to open.

Friend & Foe Booklet

SS Bandon

The SS Bandon was owned by the Cork Steam Packet Company Ltd. and sailed from Liverpool for Cork on 12th April 1917 under Captain P.F. Kelly with a crew of 32. According to the “History of Port of Cork Steam Navigation 1815-1915” by William J. Barry in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society in 1919 (Vol. 25) Captain Kelly was on the bridge all night until the following day at 4pm when he retired to rest leaving his second officer MJ O’Brien in charge.

The ship was just off Mine Head when it was struck by a torpedo on the port side beside the engine room. The ship immediately began to sink and the captain immediately returned to the bridge and ordered to head immediately to land. Unfortunately, the ship exploded due to the damage to the engine room and sank rapidly taking most of the crew with it.

The captain managed to come back to the surface and was able to reach one of the collapsible deck-seats which were floating among the wreckage. The third engineer, Mr. Mercer; J. O’Keeffe, fireman; Kewley, carpenter; J. McCarthy, AB and a fireman, Walsh were also clinging to the deck seat. Sadly Jeremiah McCarthy lost hold of the raft and were drowned.

After some time, around 6pm, a motor launch came on the scene, having been sent to their rescue by telegram from Mine Head Lighthouse and picked up the four survivors after over two hours in the water. Unfortunately, while Walsh was attempting to grasp the rope to get on the motor launch a wave came and knocked him into the sea where he drowned leaving only four survivors from the crew.

The survivors arrived at Dungarvan about 9pm and were taken to the Devonshire Arms Hotel (now Lawlor’s Hotel).

The four suvivors were: Captain P.F. Kelly; H. Mercer, 3rd Engineer; Kewley, carpenter; John O’Keefe, fireman.

Lost: Edward Ferne, Chief Officer; MJ O’Brien, 2nd Officer; R. Mercer, 1st Engineer; M. Dowling, 2nd engineer; Charles Bird, AB; Patrick O’Keeffe, Richard O’Keeffe, Bartholomew Collins, Jeremiah Long and Charles E. Martin, firemen. John Courtney, quartermaster; Caleb Crone, cook; John O’Callaghan, fireman; John Wafer AB; Simon Luoro, quartermaster; Jeremiah Leahy and George O’Mahony, greasers; Joseph George Thompson; Jeremiah MCarthy and John Sullivan, ABs; Charles McCashin, steward; Wrixan and Sullivan, cattlemen; two gunners; Walsh, fireman and the donkeyman.

SS Feltria

The SS Feltria was an ocean liner owned by the British India Associated Steamers Ltd. of Glasgow. It was on a voyage from New York to Avonmouth, Bristol with a general cargo on when it was torpedoed by UC-48 on 5th May 1917 eight miles south west of Mine Head. 45 lives were lost.

UC-48 was captained by Kurt Ramien at the time and had also sunk the FV Pancaer 8 miles from Mine Head on 16th March 1917.

While the crew of the Pancaer survived their attack 45 lives were lost from the SS Feltria.

Lost: Ali Abdul Riyaz, Fireman and Trimmer; Frank Boyd, Fireman; Herbert Cann, Engineer’s Steward; Frederick Carmichael, 4th Mate; George Chapple, Officer’s Steward; William Clough, 5th Engineer Officer; H Crampton, Sailor; Robert Davys, Apprentice; Frederick Galpin, Assistant Cook; George Gaunson, Fireman; Arie Goodall, Assistant Steward; Francis Gruidrey, Fireman; Clifford Harris, Baker; Henry Holbrook, Fireman; Henry Hooper, Fireman; George Jennings, Storekeeper; Henry Jones, Ordinary Seaman; Edgar Knight, Chief Steward; Stanley Linnet, Wireless Operator; JH Magnusson, Fireman and Trimmer; Charles Mantle, Quartermaster; William Mills, Fireman and Trimmer; Hayward Moore, Fireman and Trimmer; Nathan Leslie, Fireman; Frederick Needs, Able Seaman; Arthur Ollerhead, 3rd Engineer; Charles Oswin, Steward; Alexander Parke, Sailor; George Pearse, Engineer’s Storekeeper; Axel Petersson, Fireman; John Powell, Greaser; Walter Price, Master; William Ring; Greaser; Andrew Roger, Pantryman; Ernest Russell, Fireman; Axel Sodderblom, Fireman; Victor Sodderstron, Boatswain; Gilbert Stott, 4th Engineer; Denis Sweeney, Seaman; Edward Thomas, Sailor; David Thomson, Chief Engineer; Nicolaus Van Munnekrede, Chief Cook; Aart Van Weelde, Fireman and Trimmer; William Whyatt, Deck Boy; R. Wilson, Fireman and Trimmer.